Pilgrim Road Blog Photo

Pilgrim Road Blog Photo

Saturday, January 8, 2011

The prince of darkness grim (I refuse to capitalize!)

Dear friends,

I am not a woman who sees devils around every bend.  The temptations that trouble me are most often of the kind that come from within - those "fleshly" sins that are a result of the guerilla warfare going on between  my old human nature, and the new, redeemed nature I recieved by faith in the justifying power of the risen Savior.  (That was a long sentence.  I think I've been reading too much 16th century history lately...).  But these past few days I have actually identified a temptation coming from that enemy of the soul, who can not harm the Great One Himself, so picks on the apple of His eye instead.  I want to share this difficult time with you, because you may be going through something similar, or have, or if not, you will. 

The tempter's dangling carrot for me at this time is from the creeping crud family.  Bitterness, given any kind of rope, will most certainly hang us, and in the most vile, ghastly way.  A circumstance in my life that has been persistently painful, has been brewing under wraps for a while.  This week the tentacles of the deciever crept into my mind...  "You have the right to be bitter."  I kid you not, I heard those silent words in my head.  I wanted so badly to be rail at God...to complain and fuss and state my rights in this matter.  Having walked with God for 25 years now (often stumbling, often going backwards), I was thankfully not ignorant of the direction this warped mindset could take me in.  Once again by the mercy of the One and Only, I was able to clearly see the source of this attempt to take me down some dark lane on the pilgrim road.  Believe me, part of me wanted to go.  There is some pleasure in sin, otherwise no one would ever do it.  Feeling sorry for myself, envying those who don't have this particular sorrow, cursing the cause of my ache, these have in them a moment of false triumph.  But only a moment, and then the whole ugly thing gains more and more ground and swallows up all the light and truth God wants to bring out of the mess.  In the legendary C.S.Lewis novel, "The Screwtape Letters", a senior devil coaches a young upstart in some of the finer points of temptation.  This passage was useful in keeping my perspective:

Screwtape to his nephew, a junior temptor:
"You see, it is so hard for these creatures to persevere.  The routine of adversity, the gradual decay of youthful loves and youthful hopes, the quiet despair (hardly felt as pain) of ever overcoming  the chronic temptations with which we have again and again defeated them, the drabness which we create in their lives, and the inarticulate resentment with which we teach them to respond to it- all of this provides admirable opportunities of wearing out a soul by attrition."

The Word of God, as always, gives the needed dose of truth and sanity:
"Count it all joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.  Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."  James 1:2-4

Friends, whatever the slithering thing is that tempts you to despair, (which of all sins is the saddest), get a grip on yourself and send the blasted thing back to the pit!  It may not be easy, but far harder is the road back from the battering of self indulgence.  Part of the reason I'm writing this is to beat back the darkness.  For me and for you.  Don't look for devils around every corner. (And certainly forget the story book horns and pitchfork thing!)  Neither dismiss them altogether.  But for heaven's sake, remember the One who gives power and might to defeat the foe.  Martin Luther said it perfectly in the hymn, "A Mighty Fortress is Our God":

"And though this world with devil's filled,
May threaten to undo us
We will not fear for God has willed,
His truth to triumph through us
The prince of darkness grim
We tremble not for him,
His wrath we can endure
For lo, his doom is sure
One little word will fell him."

I am not through this trial.  I am still in the middle of it.  But "lo, his doom is sure."  In fact, with a little gratitude, a little of the laughter that comes from a sense of proportion, and the sweet fact of His grace, this will be another strengthening obstacle on the road to maturity.  I'm praying for you, friends.  I mean it.  We're going to not only make it, but display His splendor along the way.

Your friend on the pilgrim road,


PS:  The snow made my yard an absolute wonder.  Look outside and keep your perspective!


  1. Thinking of & praying for you as well. I appreciate you sharing your heart in this blog.